The next time you eat a grapefruit, treat it with added respect.

I bet you didn't know that the extract from its seeds, pulp and inner rind form a potent antimicrobial which cleans and disinfects virtually everything.

Grapefruit seed extract was discovered by the Yugoslavian scientist Dr Jacob Harish who spent much of his time developing natural alternatives to drugs.

Marketed under the brand name Citricidal, grapefruit seed extract is derived from entirely natural sources, is cost-effective, hugely versatile and has no known side-effects.

Taken internally, Citricidal should always be heavily diluted because of its sour and bitter taste.

Put a few drops in a glass of water and use it as a gargle for sore throats or as a nasal douche.

Apart from fighting bacteria, grapefruit seed extract has antifungal and antiparasitic properties.

It is a useful aid for maintaining the correct balance of intestinal flora.

For instance, if struck down with diarrhoea after a dodgy meal, take ten drops three times a day in water or juice (consult your doctor if condition persists).

The diluted liquid concentrate of grapefruit seed extract may be used topically as an antiseptic wound cleaner and to treat skin infections.

It is highly effective for nappy rash: After each change, wash baby's bottom in a solution made up with five drops of Citricidal to four ounces of water.

To get rid of warts, place one drop twice daily directly on the wart, allow it to be absorbed and cover with a plaster.

Citricidal is a big hit among travellers and campers. It is a handy veggie and fruit wash and disinfects cooking utensils, kitchen and bathroom areas.

You can use it in the rinse water to leave a protective residue on all surfaces. Sponges, mops and even toothbrushes can be kept bug-free after a good dunking in the diluted solution.

To control mould and odours in your laundry, add 25-30 drops to the washing load.

Some US hospitals now use the extract to sanitise their wards and bedding.

Grapefruit seed extract has even wider applications. It can be used instead of chlorine as an emergency water treatment to prevent disease.

In South America it is employed as an algaecide, bactericide and fungicide in swimming-pools and jacu-zzis.

Grapefruits originated in Barbados but are now grown commercially all over the world.

Like all citrus fruit, they contain plenty of vitamin C as well as soluble fibre which helps to lower levels of blood cholesterol.

However, if you are on prescribed medication, beware. Eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice can interact with the effects of the drug, making it, and potential side-effects, much more potent.

This is due to a flavonoid in the fruit called naringenin.

Grapefruit seed extract contains only minute amounts of naringenin but if on medication, consult your pharmacist before using it internally.

Citricidal is available from health food stores or call Higher Nature on 01435 882880.